Graduate Catalog

Doctor of Ministry Degree Program (D.MIN.)

The Doctor of Ministry degree (D.Min.) at Barry University is an advanced degree for ordained and non-ordained women and men engaged in full-time ministry from a variety of denominations. The program of study leading to the D.Min. degree prepares experienced ministers for advanced leadership activities and develops analytical skills of theological reflection on specialized ministerial or pastoral practices.

The purpose of the Doctor of Ministry degree program is to provide advanced theological reflection on and understanding of ministerial praxis and leadership through the study of practical biblical, systematic/liturgical, and moral theology for minister-leaders in the churches. The Program Goals of the Doctor of Ministry degree program are designed to develop theological and ministerial leadership and to enhance the practice of ministry by:

  • providing advanced theological study of ministry and reflection on the purposes of particular ministerial practices;
  • investigating theological issues and ministerial practices in the context of academic study;
  • examining the praxis of ministry and fostering the knowledge and skills necessary for the development of a clear conception of the church’s ministry;
  • forming a critical understanding of a particular ministerial practice, correlating a theological theory, and proposing a new understanding of that practice for contemporary ministerial needs; and
  • developing those skills and competencies necessary for ministerial leadership advancing theological understanding of ministerial praxis.

Course of Study

The D.Min. program utilizes multiple pedagogical approaches in its seminars, coursework, directed research and writing, and ministerial formation. The two seminars in practical theology provide the core of the student cohort experience. Each course is designed to address theological and ministerial questions through the methodologies of practical theology.

Areas of Concentration and Research

  • Practical Biblical Theology
  • Practical Sacramental/Liturgical Theology
  • Practical Systematic Theology
  • Practical Moral Theology
  • Institutional Ministry, Military Ministry
  • Hispanic/Latino(a) Theology & Ministry
  • Institute and Ministry, Health Care Ethics

Admissions Requirements

  • Completed application form identifying intended concentration in Practical Biblical Theology, Practical Systematic Theology, Practical Sacramental/Liturgical Theology, Practical Moral Theology, Institutional Ministry or Military Ministry, or Hispanic Latino(a) Theology and Ministry; Liturgical Studies
  • Application fee (or waiver);
  • Master of Divinity or its equivalent;
  • three years of ministry experience;
  • written autobiography of ministry and theological journey;
  • interview with members of D.Min. Committee; and
  • three letters of recommendation; one must be an academic reference.

Requirements for Graduation

For completion of the D.Min. degree, students must: 1) complete a minimum of 44 credit hours comprised of 24 credit hours of coursework, 6 credit hours of core seminars, 6 credit hours of ministerial formation, and 8 credit hours of thesis; 2) students must defend the thesis-project proposal; 3) students must participate in the Exit Experience; and 4) students must register the thesis with UMI Dissertations Publishing (effective with 2007‑2008 admissions).

Orientation Program

All new students are required to participate in an orientation program at the start of their studies. The orientation will provide: 1) an overview of the program, 2) an explanation of the various requirements and stages of the program, 3) information and guidance about the resources of Barry University, and 4) an opportunity to meet professors and students in order to be more fully integrated on a personal level in the D.Min. program.

Transfer Credit

A student may transfer up to 6 credit hours from another regionally accredited institution toward course work requirements. These credits must be at an advanced level and appropriate to the goals of the D.Min. program.

Intention to study at another institution and transfer credit must be approved first by the Chair of the Department. Upon completion of the course work at another institution, transcripts must be sent to the Chair of the Department. Students who complete the D.Min. degree through the winter and summer terms with two-week residencies only are not eligible to transfer credits from other institutions for the completion of the required distribution.

Thesis-Project Proposal Defense

With the Thesis-Project Proposal Defense the student demonstrates, before a community of scholars and peers, the defense of the thesis-project subject matter and the use of practical theology within a particular discipline of theology.

Exit Experience—D.MIN. Commissioning

This exit experience is designed for the candidate to formally present the thesis to mentors and faculty. The focus of the experience is the integration of the thesis into the candidate’s theological perspective as applied to ministry.

Study Options

A student who participates in the D.Min. program at Barry University may complete course work requirements through the following options:

  1. Traditional Academic Year—graduate courses in theology and ministry are offered during the fall and spring semesters of each academic year.
  2. Winter and Summer Terms—to meet the needs of students who are actively engaged in ministry, the Department devised the Winter and Summer Terms with Two-Week residencies. Each term begins seven weeks prior to the residency period and ends six weeks following the residency for a total of fourteen weeks of course activity. Students may register for two courses during the Winter and Summer terms.
  3. Study Through the Year—occasionally students have the opportunity for a full-year immersion that can be accommodated with registration for each of the four periods of study the Department offers (fall, winter, spring, and summer).

NB: Fundamentals of Practical Theology (THE 800A) and D.MIN. Integrative Seminar (THE 800) are offered only during the residency terms.

Residency Requirements

The D.Min. program requires a minimum of one full year of resident academic study followed, ordinarily, by the completion of the thesis-project.

  • Our Doctor of Ministry program residency requirements commit active ministers to the opportunity of significant disengagement from the usual routines of ministry in order to satisfy the time necessary for concentrated study and theological reflection.
  • Students following Study Option I fulfill residency requirements by registering for a minimum of one course each semester.
  • Students following Study Option 2 fulfill residency requirements by registering for a minimum of one course each term. In addition to a regular rotation of these term residencies, students following this Study Option must spend an additional month in residence for sustained research, interaction with faculty and student colleagues, and thesis direction.
  • Students following Study Option 3 fulfill residency requirements by registering for a minimum of two courses in two separate periods of the four periods of study through the year.

Time Limitations and Completion Deadlines

A minimum of one full year of academic study and the completion of the thesis-project are required. Except under extenuating circumstances, a student will be allowed no more than seven years to complete the D.Min. degree.

Requests for exceptions to these limits (such as reduction or extension of time) due to extenuating circumstances should be directed to the Chair of the Department and will be considered by the D.Min. Committee.

Students not registering per the study options and residency requirements above must register for THE 729 to maintain status and matriculation in the program.

Areas of Research

During their course of study in the Program, D.Min. students are required to choose a particular area of interest and research which relates their academic pursuit of practical theology to church ministry. This focus of research interest enables the student to see the practical implications of theological study in the lives of the members of the faith community. The Doctor of Ministry Program offers six areas of interest: Practical Biblical Theology, Practical Sacramental/Liturgical Theology, Practical Systematic Theology, Practical Moral Theology, Institutional and Military Ministry, and Hispanic/Latino(a) Theology and Ministry.

Practical Biblical Theology

The Bible arises from the actual experience of the people of Israel in their relationship to God and from the actual experience of Jesus by his followers as expressing their relationship to God. This area of research emphasizes both the origins of the Bible as the record of people’s relationship with God in Israel and through Jesus and how this record affects people today. Students study the Bible to bring guidance to the faith community in their present search for God and to assist the community in its identification of a proper response to the offer of a relationship to God through Jesus.

Practical Sacramental/Liturgical Theology

Theology as faith seeking understanding and the lex orandi as the lex credendi (the rule of praying affecting the rule of believing) is part of the experience of God and Church in the Roman Catholic and Protestant Christian communities. This area of research investigates the insights and implications of sacramental and liturgical theology for their influence upon the experience of faith and prayer in the contemporary Christian church. Sacramental and liturgical theology are studied to further appreciate and enrich the understanding of the experience of God as it is expressed, especially in the prayer and liturgy of the people of faith as the people of prayer.

Practical Moral Theology

Created in the image of God and redeemed by the sacrifice of Jesus, people are called to life in the Spirit; the practice of this life is the focus of moral theology. This area of research investigates personal and communal activity and institutional and structural systems that promote or obstruct Christian justice and love. As a practical discipline, moral theology demands a critical and faith-filled evaluation of conduct and policy in every area of human involvement; from bioethics to social justice, this study offers its resolutions to the human community for the realization of the reign of God.

Practical Systematic Theology

Rooted in the critical nexus of fides et ratio, systematic theology studies the sources, methods, and outcomes of Christian theological investigation and reflection in the context of a pluralist world. As its name suggests, systematic theology seeks to analyze and articulate the principle doctrines of Christian theology in a comprehensive and coherent manner in dialogue with contemporary culture, emerging thought paradigms, and ongoing human experience. These doctrines include the theology of God, Christology, pneumatology, ecclesiology, theological anthropology, and eschatology.

Institutional Ministry

Military chaplains, chaplains engaged in similarly institutionalized ministries, and persons engaged in healthcare ministries are confronted with many challenges that are critical to institutions—challenges with colleagues, administrators, and their service corps. This area of research enhances the institution-sponsored certifications and provides opportunities for an advanced focus on the specialized field of ministry. Vital issues arising in the context of institutional life invite critical theological reflection to meet the pastoral needs of minister-leaders and those they serve. For students in healthcare ministries, a concentration in healthcare ethics offers focus to questions unique to contemporary care settings.

Hispanic/Latino(a) Theology and Ministry

The 2000 Census and its most recent revisions indicate that the Hispanic/Latino(a) population constitutes the largest minority group in the United States; the Regional Offices of Hispanic Ministry estimate that Hispanics/Latinos(as) represent nearly half of the U.S. Catholic community. This area of research articulates the lived experience of a culturally mediated faith and explores U.S. Hispanic/Latino(a) contextual theologies as a framework to analyze issues that arise in Hispanic/Latino(a) communities. As a contextualized study of theology and ministry, an understanding of the experiences of Hispanic/Latino(a) communities is attained.

Liturgical Ministry

Research in liturgical studies responds to the interests and needs of Catholic and Protestant catechists, worship coordinators, church musicians, teachers, chaplains, and other lay ecclesial ministers seeking insight to address the sacraments and liturgy within their ministries. Research in this area deepens and expands the understanding of the Christian sacramental and liturgical tradition and its influence and implications for ecclesial ministry

Doctor of Ministry (44 credits)














Required Curriculum Distribution

-Biblical Theology


-Systematic Theology


-Sacramental/Liturgical Theology


-Moral Theology


-Elective coursework


All graduate courses include peer learning.

At the start of studies the student participates in a 3 credit hour D.Min. Fundamentals of Practical Theology Seminar (THE-800A). This seminar is designed to prepare students in the praxis-theory-praxis methodologies of practical theology. Students are expected to use these methodologies in subsequent coursework and in the thesis-project.

Six hours of elective courses may be completed as directed independent studies. Guidelines for directed studies are available from the Chair of the Department.

Upon completion of a minimum of 21 credit hours of course work, the student may participate in the D.Min. Integrative Seminar (THE-800). This seminar is designed to assist students in the final integration of their studies with the methods of practical theology, the identification of the ministerial issue to be examined, and the method of investigation that will be employed to facilitate the development of the thesis-project proposal. Students receive credit for this seminar upon approval of a mentor for the subsequent work of the thesis-project.

The D.Min. Thesis in Ministry (THE-801A and THE-801B) demonstrates satisfactory integration of theological reflection with ministerial praxis; through the praxis-theory-praxis approach, the thesis achieves a new vision of the candidate’s ministry which may be applied broadly to other ministerial contexts.

Doctoral Ministerial Formation (THE-802A and THE-802B) provides an arena to critically reflect on ministerial skills and competencies, to develop strategic planning and assessment methods, and to create a “thick description” of ministerial contexts. This process must be completed before Thesis-Project proposal defense.